Monday 22nd to Friday 26th April 2019
Posted: 26/04/2019 19:58
Monday 22nd. Sunny, but hazy blue skies and a light to moderate ESE'ly wind were again the order of the day as the Scandinavian anticyclone remained in place, with the first few of the day's 29 ATs off, and the corresponding landings on, runway 20 before operations changed to runway 06. Thermal conditions developed in the early afternoon and lasted for a couple of hours, enabling the two private owners to launch, Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and Nick Gaunt in his LS7, to have the two longest flights of the day, 2:09 and 1:23 respectively, with their flights being best described as extended local ones. Thereafter, Steve Thompson took guest D Thompson for a 43 minute flight in the DG1000, and later flew a 41 minute flight with Martin Clowes in K21 JVZ, while Mark Newburn had a 33 minute check flight with John Carter in the DG500 off a high tow and then repeated the time while flying the DG303 off a more standard tow.
Tuesday 23rd. It was a day of operations off runway 06 as the wind continued to blow with a significant E'ly component. Thick high cover during the morning meant little in the way of thermal activity, it feeling particularly chilly at the launch point, but this cover slowly thinned so that by the middle of the afternoon some thermal activity developed. However, this was a brief interlude not helped by a low inversion, so that soaring flight was hard to come by, with only George Rowden and his First Flight pupil Paul Cain managing a flight of 32 minutes in the DG1000, the result of what appeard to be low level wave lift over the gulley to the immediate east of the airfield. The arrival of the Tuesday evening group in the late afternoon saw Ron Beezer and Christina Griffiths take a tow downwind of the site in the hope, or was it the expectation of finding some lee wave. This they did but it only proved of sufficient strength to slow their descent to earth, a spectacle that was eargerly watched by the launch point group with much reference to Spot the Glider altitude information on their iPhones. Andy Parish and Paul Frost then followed Ron's lead and were more successful in maintaining their height, landing after exactly an hour. While still airborne, Andy and Paul were then joined by Graham Evison and Chris Thompson in the DG1000 and by Fred Brown and Josh Abbey in the DG500, with Graham and Chris climbing to 3,900' asl and Fred and Josh to 4,000' asl. With the absence of cloud, finding the wave proved tricky, so that the next 3 flights were soon back on the ground, but Steve Thompson and Adam Sayer redressed the balance by finding the wave in the DG1000 and climbing to 5,200' asl in their flight of 1:09. The last flight of the day then followed with Graham Evison and Chris Ogden taking K21 JVZ to 4,900' asl in their flight of 41 minutes. Their launch was not followed by any others as increasingly turbulent conditions in the circuit precluded any further flying. Thanks are due to Julian Gerretson and Mark Croston who, in spite of missing out on flying, played a full part in hangaring the gliders at the end of the flying day.
Wednesday 24th. Wednesday witnessed the start of a change in the weather as the Scandinavian high pressure declined and the day saw the first rain for over 2 weeks. The rain came via some thundery showers in the evening that didn't affect flying, this having come to an end during the late afternoon after 10 ATs off runway 02, the wind being a light to moderate N/NE'ly. The first flight of the day saw Andy Parish and Susan Lunes, the first of the 4 First Flight pupils of the day, find some weak wave that extended their flight time to 43 minutes in K21 JVZ. The next flight, saw Bruce Grain, again with a First Flight pupil, have 34 minutes in JVZ, but thereafter, no one else exceeded 30 minutes, although Bruce Grain and Tony Kirby in the DG1000 and Andy Parish and another of the day's First Flight pupils in the same glider had 29 minutes each.
Thursday 25th. The change to more unsettled weather resulted in an early flight by Andy Parish and Tony Kirby in K21 to assess the conditions. These proved to be not condusive to further flying, the AT out to the intended release point being followed by a AT back to the site, the wind being a light to moderate flow that varied between N and NE'ly. Flying was then suspended until around 1540 hrs by a spell of light rain in the morning and a thunderstorm in the middle of the afternoon that caused a marked variation in wind speed. After the storm had passed 4 ATs were flown off runway 20 in K21 JVZ, Bruce Grain flying with Konrad Kawlec on three of the flights and Tony Kirby for the remaining one.
Friday 26th. With clear blue skies and a forecast for good soaring conditions before the arrival of an Atlantic front, a number of pilots made the trip to site only to find the blue skies rapidly covered by low cloud pushed along by a initially light to moderate ESE'ly wind. The delay in starting flying was, however, not too long, as cloud base rapidly rose and the cloud broke to provide large areas to tow into. The first two flights of the day saw Bruce Grain and Tony Kirby practice circuits from 1000' tows behind the Eurofox before George Rowden took David Stalk, the first of the two First Flight pupils of the day, for a Mile High flight in the DG500. Wave was encountered that initially meant a maintenance of their release height and later in their 50 minute flight allow a climb from 4,500' asl back to their release altitude of 5,400, asl. Strong and persistent sink on their return to site meant a right hand circuit onto runway 20 rather than the normal left hand one. The cloud cover then started to increase and the wind picked up while veering into the SE to become moderate to fresh with gusts into the mid 20 kts. These conditions provided hill soaring conditions on the southerley ridge, enhanced with some thermal activity and these soaring opportunities were exploited by a number of pilots. Paul Whitehead and the second of the day's Mile High pupils had 36 minutes in the DG1000 while Bruce Grain and Jerry Henderson Newton had 55 minutes in K21 JVZ. Paul Whitehead and visitor John Butler from Keevil had the longest flight of the day, 1:02, during which they sampled some strong thermals and flew the southern ridge east to Oswaldkirk, maintaining 1,000' QFE in what Paul described as the best soaring on the southern ridge he had experienced. Flying came to a halt around 1410 hrs after Tony Kirby and visitor Sam Sulter from Pocklington both flew with Bruce Grain in JVZ, Tony again practicing his circuits and Sam experiencing hill soaring in his flight of 30 minutes off a 1000' tow. The packing of the hangars and garaging of the ground equipment was then successfully accomplished before the forecast rain arrived around 1515 hrs.